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Maintaining Recovery During Quarantine

 

 

TW: EATING DISORDERS

 

The world is so scary right now. Everything all around us feels so out of control, and if you’re suffering from or recovering from an eating disorder, you know all too well about how a lack of control can send us spiraling. It’s harder to find structure, routine, and to turn to the coping mechanisms that we’re used to having. Here are some things that I have found helpful in my recovery during this time.   

  1. 1.   Unfollow the accounts that trigger you

    I have been spending an embarrassing amount of time on social media. A common thread going around right now is the fear of gaining “the quarantine fifteen.” While this may be a harmless joke to some, those of us with eating disorders take it to heart. I’ve come across a lot of “pro ana” (pro-anorexia) pages in my social media scrolls. Block these accounts! I’ve found that it really makes a difference. 

  2. 2.   Disrupt the calorie count

     

    On my worst days, I find myself subconsciously counting calories. I have found it to be helpful to take a handful of something that I can’t measure outside of a meal time. This disrupts my calorie count and allows me to continue my day without obsessing over calories.  

  3. 3. Try one fear food a day

    This is a BIG one. Eating fear foods forces us to deal with the uncomfortable. Bagels are one of my top fear foods, so I have been sure to start every day with a bagel during the quarantine.  

  4. 4. Ditch the food journal  

    In my experience, keeping a food journal just made me hyper-aware of what I was eating. It was overwhelming to look at everything that I ate in a day at once. Getting rid of my food journal freed me from the constraints of my eating disorder, and to just LIVE.  

  5. 5. Don’t look at food labels  

    Again, this goes with calorie counting. Looking at a food label makes it easy to become number-obsessive. If you don’t look at the numbers, you’re not giving the numbers power.

  6. 6. Food doesn’t have to be earned

    Here’s the reminder that we all need: food is NOURISHMENT and does NOT have to be earned. Didn’t do your workout today? That’s fine! Your body needs food to survive. Please eat, your body will thank you.

  7. 7.   Allow yourself to have treats

    We’re all going through a collective trauma and deserve to treat ourselves. Let yourself have some of your favorite comfort foods. They’re good for your soul. I have found it helpful to have a “treat” after lunch and dinner. It’s usually something small, such as an oreo cookie, but this helps me to find balance.  

  8. 8.   Let yourself have lazy days

    You do NOT have to be productive right now. Again, we are going through a collective trauma. If you don’t want to do anything productive, you don’t have to! Right now we need to focus on surviving, not thriving.

  9. 9.   Eat slowly and mindfully

    This one is a game-changer for me. When I’m eating, I try to take small bites and focus in on them. What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What’s it’s texture? How many flavors does it have? This keeps me from panicking and grounds me in mindfulness.  

  10. 10. Be easy on yourself!

    This is nothing like we have seen within our lifetimes. We are feeling a lack of control all around us and all that we have known has been ripped out from under our feet. Slip-ups are inevitable at this time. They are going to happen, but you WILL bounce back.  

I have found these tips to be helpful throughout my entire recovery journey, but have found them to be especially important during quarantine. They give me a sense of normalcy and something to work toward. I believe in you.